THE MUISIC OF LOSS

I lost the night, the skeleton key to my grandmother’s china cabinet, my shadow at the airfield when the military planes went by, the turquoise and chartreuse scarf my mother brought me back from Ireland last May, my resolve.

I lost the notebook with all the passwords, the memo from my boss about tomorrow’s emergency meeting, the apricot dinner-plate dahlia tubers I dug up two months ago, my right to stay silent.

I lost my way out of the forest at twilight, my focus on the last star before cloud blankets settled in, the ability to stay composed during the police interrogation, my favorite coffee mug, my posture.

I lost the burnt sienna leather gloves you bought me, my father’s father’s chest of war medals, the note I left on the refrigerator to remind me of ___________ , my trust in the government, my affection for the media.

I lost my checkbook, my debit card, my childhood bank book, my morals from twenty years ago in the shuffle of the twenty-first century.
I lost my sleeping bag, the one with the broken zipper anyway. The directions to the secret cove at the shore, the obsidian rock, the stone plateau covered in barnacles where the tiniest creatures pool in the ankle-high water warmed by the sun. Where the spearfisherman cherry-picking the taug taugs that taste like the lobster and crab they eat scraped up his back on the rocks during high tide, and disappeared.

I lost the crystal earring from Czechoslovakia, the large amber pendant with insects stuck inside forever brought to me by my now-deceased ciocia [aunt] from the open market in Krakow. I lost my will to open the door to the universe and say hello to whomever lurks awkwardly inside.

I lost the onyx eyeglasses I need for driving at night, my favorite prescription cheetah reading glasses, the pills that help me sleep but often cause me to hover above toward my bedroom ceiling and witness myself as dream.

The GPS that was left in the car before the crash, the remote on which the seven and nine do not click in. I lost the address to the place that was supposed to help me. I lost my patience for anyone not an innocent child, elderly person, or animal.

I lost my ability to do math; calculate right angles I could no longer see, approximate to the nearest meaningful decimal, the right attitude for talking a jumper down from the platitudes/highest skyscrapers in New York City. I lost my desire for what I used to want so vehemently in my much-younger years.

I lost my father’s sense of ambition; he wanted for me to make six figures, be a success with a large 401k to which he added IRAs when he calculated my paltry tax return annually with the patience of a saint. I lost the ability to work in a cubicle of clocks ticking and unhappy women talking to their estranged spouses during lunch while eating processed-meat sandwiches or takeout from Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or Subway.

I lost the spare key to the shed where I buried my doll heads and eyelashes I cut, thinking they would then grow longer because of something I overheard my mother saying to her best friend; the only key to my elderly mother’s safety deposit box [formerly jointly owned by both my parents before my beloved father’s earthly demise] when I retrieved my adoption papers and birth name for the first time.

I lost the antique, yellow, “puffy” lamp bequeathed to me by my favorite voyek [uncle], the white double-blossom rose of Sharon, the female apple tree without its mate [didn’t return after last year’s interminable winter], seven types of designer coneflowers, including Apricot Sunrise, Double-decker Green, Double-decker Pink, Mixed berry–because I was too dangerously depressed last spring to weed.

I lost my convictions, my definitions of happiness, love.

It wasn’t all due to carelessness; there was some fatigue. A spiritual fatigue that settled in –that winter the three ghosts of the House came and watched everything.

I must confess the onerous guilt of multitasking / juggling a million fractured things while on metaphorical crack / caffeine to counter the aforementioned spiritual plus, autoimmune / lupus fatigue.

The ghosts came to me again in the early morning this stunning September morning and spoke slowly, barely audibly, in my left ear [clogged more than the right from goldenrod allergies] that everything, yes, everything was going to be okay;

that forgiveness was not their jurisdiction but my own.

The sole female ghost of the House, Rita Lemery, was the one who did the whispering while the ghosts of her husband, Roger, and my late father lurked on either side of her.

Rita’s ghost cooed with a voice of pure golden honey that my poem about losing things was beautiful, and that she and the other ghosts [even ones who did not frequent my cellar], including that ethereal / eternal version of my father, were proud of me.

 

 

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MOURNING

written after Henry Jopek [my father] passed away on March 31, 2015

Shed the black cloths of mourning for white lilies, gladiolas, tulips, hyacinth.

A private grieving finally alone in the House. Thank God. Birds sleeping in the rain

in barren trees of tiniest buds will eventually sprout magnolia and pear blossoms,

ladders of cathedral bells. No more PANIC of not being able to BREATHE properly.

The lungs washed clean by rain. The cloths of being unimaginable

it has been said so much // so little–just rain awash and human weeping

for the lost waiting rooms–for the man who shrank

into a fracture of star.

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /19

If I am mute this opening sequence of September {a handful of days, perhaps, to recompose myself after overloaded//depletion of too*many*people//hurry—

winding//uphill pot-holed roads—in my claustrophobic//mercurial {silver} metal-box-chariot {epithet: Frightened Minnow Lost at High Tide}—

< < <

I may be sleepwalking through derailed/ugly conversations—

foraging in the obsessive-compulsive ghosts’ cobwebs—

for an ELIXIR to stand upright {though not even}—

scissoring out the names of the dead.

You must not take any of this personally

{but what choice do you have really?}—

the cumulative effect of the proliferating silk//cacophonous bluelit/backlit screens—

was simply—

enervating.

<  <  <

The holiday memo was email*bombed–on time COB Friday—to all involved parties {some Bcc-ed}—

but no one {including me}—really fucking cared.

<  <  <

I had been driving for too many days {with cars following much*too*closely} toward a town that no longer existed.

I texted you—asking to tape our worries//splintered prayer boards to stones—

you should carry to the Farmington River—expediently—

but the cell towers were cluttered with the aftermath of another DOUBLE set

{double bubble*gum*style mass-produced} of

MASS {please note the irony} SHOOTINGS–

on the same fucking day.

{yes, September finds me quite {uncharacteristically} angry}}—

conducted with the skill of a virtuoso European conductor HIGH on street-grade CRACK.

<  <  <

Yes, it’s true I was flying high on different frequencies—talking much too fast//frenetically–

before the inevitable underpass—collecting torrential rains—a bi*product of the catastrophic hurricane—

for which the tourists weren’t smart enough to evacuate. {when one pays for a desperately-needed vacation on credit with 22% interest, the best decisions aren’t always made.}

<  <  <

I was looking for the extra toothbrush for the adolescent whose father might

IMPLODE  again—because of the newly//binary {gender*fluid} sexuality//

self-asserted {finally} nomenclature {warrior name}—

to clean out//urge//expunge aforementioned COBWEBS–

in our collective unconscious—

when you caught me off guard–

with your frantic//–

–// EVERYTHING*IS*CRISIS phone call.

<  < <

Please forgive my NECESSITATED //

self-imposed quietude—

–in the morning-garden light–

of this six o’clock hour.

<  <  <

There are some things I need to get off my chest—

in P=R=I=V=A=T=E—while I scavenger-hunt

the missing clues—

to share with you later on your facebook timeline.

Adjust your privacy settings accordingly.

{{I’ll miss some of you.}}

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /2

Count the steps to the mailbox at night, the number of seconds in emotional freefall, the minutes left in the hour, the hours until the work finish line. There is always more time [on some level] somewhere.

When flipping the conversation on its Kafka-esque back—make eye contact to gauge the subject’s attitude. So many are distracted by the internal goings-on; a few seconds is enough to gauge the subject’s attitude.

Enumerate the drops of the waterfall to have that Zen experience amidst the mass-produced chaos of the hour. Cars zigzagging on the freeway; following too closely. Road rage will get you nowhere; zoom in on your shadowed hand.

The dreamer becomes a statue lost underwater, tangled in seaweed moss. The fishhook may dislodge more dirt than one can handle. Pull up the nets and count the bounty; contemplate setting the captive free.

Saturday’s fifth gear will dissipate exponentially by Monday, sigh.

The other subjects were pleasant overall.

If reading between the lines, jettison all lines. There are no absolute rules—just the skeletons of fists grasping one’s own collar.

When sleep becomes a weighted blanket, wrap the moon and stars around the body’s cocoon; brace for the rain in the open windows that let in tomorrow’s frenetic bird trills.

There was heated discussion of not talking about the wars going on; documents signed to hide other documents. Talk of fake news, media non-facts, egregious behaviors, illogical events. . .

Don’t be fooled by the proliferating screens.

The subject’s suitcase hides a vacation to the island of reprieve. It will be very quiet there; pack music to unfold pages/uncurling mimosa blooms.

Don’t panic; others have felt this way.

 

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i•Phone *möbius strip* {hybrID.(b*oo*k)}: in*tro

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SWEEPING/SLEEPING AGAIN

Lost, this.

Lost, thus.

Sleep wages

a feeble war

to defy her armor.

Her edges pull down

a tent of stupor.

The brain—an organ

of electro-chemical

relationships,

toxic or devoid.

Transactions

missing

syn-

apses,

useless

syntax.

The final lime

green flickers

of fireflies,

a sad excuse

to peel the eyes.

I am sweeping, this.

Sweeping, thus.

The broken china

and depression

glass lemon lime

pink amber

shards to scoop into

tomorrow’s dustbin

or the garden bed’s

cheerful mosaic (music).

Wearing the sweater-shawl

my father darned

or his flannel jacket

of blues and grays

the colors of his stormy eyes—

the jacket from too many

days in the hospital,

too few of hospice.

I am sweeping, thus.

To stay busy, distracted

from too many storms

on the encroaching

horizon

beckoning

their chaos.

I have seen you, too,

at the dangerous peripheries—

an outlaw of the future

tempting the impossible.

Don’t look so afraid.

I am reaping, this.

Weeding the meaningless

and riffraff

after the ship

crash

into the pillar-

stones.

Tomorrow I shall plant new

ideas and things

I’ll dream tonight

when sleep comes

with her white-down

wings

comforting the lost,

the petrified.

Tomorrow I shall awake

like you

and forget

all I need.

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /6

Fireworks resumed deep in the stomach, avalanching a euphoria that bled enormous lilies.

The attendant soundtrack was quite abstract [ocean at high tide set to rain]: recompense for too many days of suffering.

If you can only blame yourself, don’t blame anyone.

It’s often necessary to bully oneself out of a corner in private margins of melancholy, remembering that nothing lasts, including stone walls and the vines that find them.

The towering crimson bee balm [and wild globe thistle] had multiplied the garden path and invited teal-bellied hummingbirds while the confused treefrog stayed suctioned to the inner garage wall.

The neighbor’s daughter was stalking blue dragonflies and singing of lily ponds.

Love is a camel ferrying exhausted birds across the desert, hoarding rain, drinking all the stars.

It was difficult to stay in one’s lane with so many distracted drivers and hopeless tailgaters. You missed the turnoff and the appointment at the place that promised to fix you [that wasn’t covered on your insurance plan anyway].

The rope somehow became unknotted from your last anchor.

Everything is philosophy, isn’t it?

No longer oppressive, the sun fell behind the fruitless apple tree [still without a mate] and decorated the horizon screen with cloud paintings.

Beautiful things [dusk-fall, fields of yellow star flowers, elegant blue herons] stopped us in our tracks because we needed them—even bitterroot blooms.

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /4

The slanted rain took away perpendicular lines. Waterproof lipstick, a first-world commodity.

The man collecting cans did not know how to count them. The store owner did not cheat him, and the man was able to buy two single servings of wine. When he drank them later in the parking lot, did he forget about home?

Already one thought of winter and missed the sound of rain falling and background bird trills. Missed walking barefoot in wet grass soothing feet tired from standing too many hours with too  many diplomas. Dreams of the ocean would make everything palatable, at least. Until anxiety wound the sleeping subject into a top that couldn’t stop spinning.

The men come and go speaking of golf, a beloved giant poodle on chemo, a mother who doesn’t remember her name. The oblivious children frolic with lollipops. A woman drinks cheap vodka with her cats while knitting socks.

Canvases purchased should be larger than the subject, a colossal door opening. Green for summer grass, blues for the sea or sky, yellow primrose and forsythia stars. Purple for irises already lost, orange for burnishing sunfall.

The cicadas will be earlier tonight and remind that the days relinquish toward autumn. How things will be defined by what they are not. July is not January. Money is not water. Not everything can be counted. Not everything can be lost.

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /15

The day off demanded the jettisoning of shoes and the polite face for customers. The Farmington river ran through the rocks; technology was eschewed.

 

Skipping stones again to travel with the currents—somewhere moving underwater toward the fishermen waiting for their catch.

 

The boy plays with his floating water shoes, pleading to “Look! Look again!”—not ready for school in a handful of days. He, too, not wanting to wear shoes—only to join his father on the kayak.

 

Videos captured too much rainfall and summer storms and too few sea vicissitudes—undulations of waves that don’t find shore dwellers; not knowing pain.

 

The Book, finished for now, looms outside the horizon and the House with its attendant chaos and messy inhabitants.

 

Fall, a trustworthy character, fidgeted off stage, waiting for the hummingbird to leave forever; for the tree frog to find its way from the garage.

 

Stuck on the stair of present and future, the dreamer fears vertigo and stares at the moon ascending the river; grateful the body reclines. Feet massaged with sea minerals and rose hips. The back horizontal and glad.

 

Thoughts, vertical, are thankful for extraordinary space. The Book, the pendulum swing of clock, the loss of night in the labyrinth.

 

 

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ITERATIONS OF SUMMER /10

The rain came to be a refrain that August that would recede like all days into the rearview mirror, an exercise in memory and distance.

 

One wondered how the tomatoes would ever ripen and how the portulaca would ever dry out, soggy like the rest of the garden and the human inhabitants.

 

The old man confessed he was ninety-five when he thought he was taking too much time to tender the sale. His wizened hands, a beautiful testament, nimble and lined.

 

The old woman held her daughter’s hand on the way in and back from the movies. A decade younger than the old man; the daughter prayed the mother would last that long, independent, holding onto the cart while the world whirled by faster.

 

Technology had become a bitch at times. Sucking precious time for quirks and quarks and human idiosyncrasies that multiplied while one tried to sleep.

 

They were in deep in their relationship when the ex called to take it all back if she could, but the young man said no, I am moving in a bright direction.

 

The lesson was coming to fruition with so-and-so. The expensive education finally realized lucrative after a lapse of years.

 

How they go quicker, cartwheeling through it all, the rain and such grievances for a summer freefall.

 

There would be adult freeze pops, frozen margaritas and the like to unwind the work treadmill, join a groove, a de-tempo vibe.

 

The hive mind wanted more honey, less rain, less whine.

 

Facebook had become the helicopter parent. Twitter a cousin to community. Snapchat, Instagram, and voiceclips—necessary formations.

 

The House, an utter disaster mess. The other House of language thriving at best.

 

Gather around, it was time to frolic barefoot in puddles and watery reflections, to jettison sorrows and soothe the postmodern egos.

 

 

 

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